Get to know the Belgian Constitution inside and out
Exactly 192 years to the day after the adoption of the Belgian Constitution on February 7, 1831, KU Leuven launched a website that aims to inform the general public about the content, origins, intellectual background and impact of the foundation of the Belgian constitutional state on our lives today through current themes and debates. The site is also peppered with little known facts.
Belgium can be proud of its Constitution, which is among the oldest still in use, after those of the United States and Norway. On October 6, 1830, under the leadership of the Catholic foreman Etienne-Constantin de Gerlache, a Constitutional Commission of mainly moderate and progressive liberals met to draft a constitution. They clearly left their mark on it. The Belgian Constitution was particularly innovative and liberal in 1831. Just think of the numerous rights and freedoms enjoyed by Belgians, such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of association and assembly, of education, religion… Our Constitution later served as a model for those in several countries.
The website www.belgischegrondwet.be, developed by a group of experts in constitutional law, legal philosophy and ethics from KU Leuven, delves into 17 themes from a legal, historical and philosophical point of view. It also examines a series of highly topical dossiers on constitutional freedoms. Such as climate issues, human rights, social media censorship, and COVID measures to name a few. But lighter yet fascinating information also gets attention. Like who the founding fathers of our nation were, that many authors of our Constitution were in their twenties, that a dozen philosophers influenced our Constitution the most, that according to the Constitution the colours of our flag should be red-yellow-black and not the other way around, that the original version of the document is kept in a vault in the federal parliament and much more.
Whether the Belgian Constitution is an open or a closed book to you, you will always learn something from www.belgischegrondwet.be. Layperson, politician, lawyer, journalist, student, teacher…